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Thank you for thirty great years!

Thirty years ago, our solid waste division had just one educator to promote our new curbside recycling program, and offer a few lessons at schools. Today, our team of four educators serve the Pierce County community and its schools, working with teachers to custom-build programs that align with reading, math, social studies and science curriculums.

They visit classrooms all over the county, teaching kindergartners about worms and composting, guiding third graders on upcycled art projects, and helping eighth graders measure the health of water from creek samples nearby—all in an average week!

 

Our hands-on programs help students make informed decisions and take action to preserve the natural environment. Each program includes a community action project like a school recycling campaign or habitat improvement. And partnerships with other local organizations expand our reach beyond the schools so that all members of the community have opportunities to learn about composting, gardening, recycling, yard care and more.

Education team

Our educators are active in 40-50 different schools every year, reaching about 150 classrooms. We also partner with several local organizations to offer compost classes, educational fairs and trainings, reaching about 9,900 learners in 2017.


STEM Night at Eatonville Elementary
Walking the Talk
Vermicomposting at Eatonville Elementary

The 2nd graders at Eatonville Elementary learned how to compost food scraps with red wriggler worms. The students built a worm compost bin and will feed their pet worms apple cores, peels and rinds. The worms will get to work and produce nutrient-rich compost to add to plants.

 

At the school’s recent STEM night, families had the opportunity to attend a workshop on vermicomposting and build a worm bin for their food waste and kitchen scraps at home.


Learning Opportunities

Edible Gardens Workshops

Classes in April and May: Garden Soil 101, Your Summer Garden: Vegetables & Herbs
Register at piercecountywa.org/ediblegardens


Zero Waste Garden Classes

Classes include: Intro to Zero Waste Garden Techniques, Better Backyard Composting, Vermicomposting, Tour of the Compost Factory and Landfill
Register at piercecountywa.org/composting

 

Calendar

Saturday, April 14: South Sound Sustainability Expo

Saturday, April 21: Pierce Conservation District—Silver Creek Earth Day Work Party

Saturday, May 5: Harvest Pierce County—Annual Spring Garden Summit, Tacoma


In their own words


With our help, Columbia Crest Academy recently restored their rain garden. One student wrote about her experience with the project:

“I loved getting to lay the bark, using my hands, and learning about what rain gardens have in common with our everyday lives. That work was awesome but I did get really dirty and sweaty. I never got to be part of the school at my old school. Wow, I learned a lot.”

“This was such a powerful real-life lesson for our students. It raised their awareness regarding their own recycling practices. They have since started educating their own families and even a few teachers. It also gave them an opportunity to practice their science lab skills using a personal real-life scenario. Thank you for being here.”

Quincy Cook, 7th grade Science/Social Studies teacher
Narrows View Intermediate, University Place

Environmental Small Grants Program

If you have an idea for how to improve habitat and water quality in Pierce County, apply for a grant! Grants are available for three watersheds. The Planning & Public Works department partners with watershed councils, local organizations and agencies to fund the program.

Examples of successful past projects include riparian plantings, invasive species removal, stream clean-up events and outreach to shoreline property owners.

Grant applications are due May 15, 2018. Learn more


30th Anniversary image
30 years and better than ever!

To celebrate our anniversary, we're sending monthly updates with stories, learning opportunities and tips for sustainable living.

 

We hope you enjoy seeing what's happening in your community!

Please share your feedback and ideas with us.

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